By KURTIS LARSON
A towering header from Chad Barrett in the 52nd minute proved enough to keep TFC undefeated at BMO Field and the Revolution winless in their last seven MLS games. The 20,672 on hand saw TFC keep their undefeated streak alive at five games in all competition while the shutout also saw the Revolution advance a scoreless streak to three games.
While Toronto FC were playing without Julian De Guzman and Dwayne De Rosario, New England was given a boost heading into the match with the return of Shalrie Joseph to the lineup. Joseph's return wasn't enough for the Revs as Barrett buried the match's only goal when he met a Sam Cronin corner to open the scoring.
Joseph looked slow and ineffective in his first game back after spending time in the MLS substance abuse rehabilitation program. His inability to help on defense left a gaping hole between New England's mids and backs that Barrett and second-half substitute O'Brian White constantly exploited.
Preki had harsh words concerning the Grenadian international and MLS following Joseph's sudden appearance in the starting 11.
"Nothing surprises me in this league," he said. "I think this should have been taken care of in different ways. It was good for them but we made sure we were strong and that we overcame all those things."
Chad Barrett proved to be a handful for New England's back line, constantly getting behind Cory Gibbs and Pat Phelan. In just the first minute Barrett found himself alone with Revs keeper Preston Burpo after receiving a through ball from Amadou Sanyang. Barrett raced on to the pass but Burpo was up to the task to keep the score at zeroes early on.
Preki shuffled his lineup once again replacing Nana Attakora with Nick Garcia and giving 18-year-old Fuad Ibrahim a run up top. New England set up in a 4-5-1 playing Toronto evenly through the opening half hour and creating half chances while Toronto looked to get in behind and combine up top on the counter attacks. Both teams opened the contest with excellent scoring chances that would have seen either side take control early.
The back-and-forth first half nearly saw the Revs go up in the 11th minute when Marko Perovic found room on the left. Perovic whipped a cross into the box that found Kheli Dube rushing in at the penalty spot. Dube's lunging attempt glanced off TFC keeper Stefan Frei who was perfectly positioned for the crucial early-game save.
"I was just very fortuante that he put it close to me," Frei said of the point blank save. "It was too close for me to even get my hands up. I just tried to make mysefl big and it was enough to get the ball clear."
"It was not the most pretty game you will ever see." Preki said. "You've seen two teams that cam and fought and two teams that have been depleted with guys. We knew from that perspective that it was going to be tough."
TFC's back line held solid through much of the game. The combination of Adrian Cann and Nick Garcia shut down New England's sluggish attack with Cann winning virtually every aerial battle and Garcia having arguably his best outing in a TFC uniform.
"I think the lads did a great job," Cann said. "We came through with the full three points and everyone gave it all they had so we came through with the victory."
Preki again used White off the bench, inserting him into the lineup for Ibrahim at the half. TFC switched to a 4-4-2 that showed immediate signs of life beginning with Barrett's game-winning goal in the 52nd. White and Barrett continued the threatening partnership they've enjoyed of late with White consistently holding balls up and distributing to Barrett throughout the second 45 minutes.
"If they want me to come off the i'll come off the bench," White said. "I'm always ready and, as a team, we're getting closer together and working for each other."
New England had limited chances in the second half, most of which came off harmless set pieces from outside the area. The Revolution's best chance came in the 82nd minute off a corner kick when Joseph had a clean look at a header that missed over the top.
TFC sits just a point back of New York for second place in the East while the Revs continue their slide. New England will try and snap that drought next weekend at home against the New York Red Bulls. TFC will look to take advantage of the upcoming week off before heading across the continent to San Jose.